Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Butternut Squash Lasanga

I had friends over for a Christmas dinner party on Saturday.  I was only planning a meal for 10-12 people, but I wanted to make sure everything could kind of be prepared ahead of time, so I didn't have a last minute freak out*.  I ended up making a spring mix salad with fennel, grapes, avocado, red onion, and sunflower seeds and a grapefruit/celery dressing, stuffed mushrooms, mashed potatoes, brussel sprouts with almonds, curried carrots and apples, and a butternut squash lasagna- for dessert I made a cranberry cake with coconut icing.  I tried to pick things that I've either prepared before, or things that would be hard to mess up.  The only risk I took was on the lasagna- and overall it turned out pretty great, with the exception of the noodles... I used rice lasagna noodles and I think If I do this again I'll switch it up with thinly sliced zucchini instead.  This would make a great main dish anytime of year.  The richness of the cashew "alfredo sauce" and the creamy butternut squash will satisfy and fill you up- while getting a dose of green iron from the spinach.  

Butternut Squash Lasagna

1 butternut squash peeled, seeded, and thinly sliced
1.5 cup of raw cashews
1.5 cup water
the juice/zest from one lemon
1 cup nutritional yeast
spinach (fresh or frozen... a lot or a little... your choice!)
1 package lasagna noodles (or 5 ish zucchinis mandolined)

Blend/process cashews, water, nutritional yeast, garlic, salt, and lemon stuffs until a smooth, creamy sauce is made.  Layer noodles, squash, spinach and sauce in a 9x13 pan until ingredients are used, or the pan is filled.  Bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes.  Top with vegan parmesean or parsley!

*last minute freak out= I've been known to have them all of the time.  I like the last-minute-oh-crap adrenaline rush I get, but even though this method proved successful when writing research papers in college- its not the best process when food is involved.  Plan ahead, make lists, and if you're dying to try a new recipe for company, make it in advance, so you'll have a plan B if need be.  Also, the best asset in helping with last minute freak outs is an amazing friend/family member that can be your sous-chef/assistant.  For every great dinner party that I've had there has been a friend "behind the scenes" making me look great- whether it be icing my cakes, chopping veggies, stuffing mushrooms, helping catch up on dishes, or just making sure the ice is ready for drinks and the floor is swept.  Having a good friend do this for you is invaluable- thank them often and reward them with taste tests and food to take home.  My mom is usually my behind the scenes girl, but for this most recent party I have to thank Cote for making my last minute freak out a non-freak out.  

I hope everyone's holiday season is merry and bright!

Here are a few more photos from the dinner party...


  1. Recipe request: How about the recipe for your green salad above? It looks simple and delicious!

  2. The salad above was organic spring mix, celery, fennel, red onions, red grapes, parsley, and maybe a few other seasonal veggies...?
    The dressing was 4 ribs of celery, 1 fennel bulb, 1 grapefruit (no skin), 1 lemon (with skin), 2 cloves of garlic (peeled), blended in the blender, then strained thru a nut milk bag, and 2 tbs of agave and 2 tbs of olive oil were added after the straining.